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From The Desk Of CA President Milton Matthews

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The worst moments often bring out the best in us.

That was no truer than in the weeks that followed July’s devastating floods in Historic Ellicott City. The damage and devastation were heartbreaking. The community’s response was heartwarming.

So many sought to help. They wanted to give, whether it was their time, their energy or their money. Individuals and businesses alike ensured that those affected by the storm wouldn’t have to tackle their uncertain futures alone.

That meant fundraisers at restaurants, shops and other businesses, not just in the days after, but in the weeks that followed. It also meant donations to help the families of the two victims who tragically lost their lives; to help with the cleanup; to help residents recover; and to help businesses that lost their locations, their inventory and their ability to bounce back from the devastation.

In 2012, in the days after a train derailed in Ellicott City, killing young two women and shutting down business, so many people came to Main Street after it reopened in order to give their financial support. That’s not possible right now, but online crowdfunding has provided another forum for assistance, further helping aid organizations that otherwise would be stretched beyond their limits.

Businesses offered jobs to employees suddenly out of work. Landlords and companies offered office space to those left abruptly without a place. And through it all, the Howard County Government has provided strong leadership. Officials have been the champions of the recovery efforts. Crews have worked long hours throughout to make the city safe before it can be made whole. The county government has done so much to help individuals through trying days, weeks and months, making sure that their needs would not be forgotten while also planning for the time when Historic Ellicott City would be able to return to its past glory.

The Ellicott City Partnership, founded in 2013 to preserve the historic downtown’s heritage and vitality and enhance Main Street economically, has become a hub for those seeking ways to help. Its website is ECPartnership.org.

We at Columbia Association (CA) welcomed the Howard County Office of Tourism and Promotion temporarily into space at CA headquarters, and we’re hosting volunteer registration at VolunteerHoward.org, the website of CA’s Volunteer Center Serving Howard County.

Every little bit helps — every donation, every minute spent volunteering, every type of help provided will bring these individuals and businesses back to what and where they once were.

That help continues to come in from all around Howard County, from all of us who recognize that this is what we would hope for, were we to be in the same unfortunate position. This is a community that cares for its own. Howard County is better when all of us are made stronger.

That is what we all must work toward, both from our daily efforts and in response to these extraordinary events. Historic Ellicott City has long been a gem — one of the many attractions that make life here so special — and it will be again.

E-mail milton.matthews@columbiaassociation.org with questions/comments.